An Open Letter to the NFL Class of 2013:
You made it! Years of hard work, sweat, dedication, sacrifice, and determination has put you where you’ve dreamed about being since you were little boy playing backyard football–a member of the NFL.
You are now part of an elite club of super athletes that garners the attention, admiration, and money of the world.
Children and old men alike will up to you for hope, entertainment, and inspiration. You are now a modern day gladiator whose every decision on an off the field will be scrutinized under a microscope.
This is a pressure cooker that requires not only character and skill, but wisdom to handle your new NFL career.
A Bit of Life Wisdom for NFL Class of 2013
If any of the 255 members of NFL class of 2013 read this I’ll be shocked, but if you are reading I believe this advice could help you along the way.
1. You Are a Role Model– Don’t become confused along the way as your once common place name becomes a household name.
Don’t say that you didn’t ask to be role model as an excuse to make poor decisions.
In reality you’ve been a role model for years as you’ve lead your team(s) to championships and victories.
You ARE a role model for young and old alike–especially for those whose city you now wear on the back of your jersey.
2. Be a Real Man- You are one of the fastest and strongest guys in the world. But are you a real man?
A real man respects others: teammates, women, and even opponents. A real man respects himself and avoids addictive behavior.
A real man has faith that is deeply personal and attractive to others.
A real man admits his mistakes and asks for help when he’s headed in the wrong direction.
3. Give More Than You Take- This might be common place for many of you draftees, but for others you’ve been struggling for so long that you’ve lost the art of giving.
Give to the community. Give to your teammates. Give to the world.
Give not only your money, but your time, energy, and emotions to causes bigger than yourself.
4. Marry Well- Find a woman who doesn’t just want you for money or fame. Find a wife who will inspire you to be a better man.
This decision on whom to marry is the second biggest decision of your life. Don’t take it lightly.
Financial Wisdom for NFL Draftees
Not only do you get to play a sport you love, but you are paid–and paid well. It’s a bit like winning the lottery.
This financial incentive comes with its own set of rewards and responsibility–a lesson that 78% of your NFL predecessors have failed at learning.
Below are 8 nuggets of financial wisdom that would make this incoming NFL class the most financially successful class to date.
1. Save Your Signing Bonus- Yes, I said save. Don’t touch it. If you need to take a small amount to live off of until you receive your first check, then do that–but save the rest.
This signing bonus isn’t mad money to blow. It is your beginning retirement fund.
2. Retirement is one Tackle Away- The average NFL career last between 3-6 years depending on whose stats you use. This ride won’t last forever, so financially plan on this.
Make a plan early in your career on what you’ll do after the NFL and how you’ll fund that dream.
3. Make a Budget- This might seem silly since you’re making more money than you ever dreamed, but a budget will help you reach your goals–you’ll just have more 0’s on the end of your numbers than the average joe.
4. Learn How Money Works– Chances are you’re like most Americans haven’t a clue how money works. Take a class on finances like FPU, read books about finances, and learn for yourself.
5. Find a Financial Mentor– You need someone to give it to you straight. Someone who won’t stand to profit from your financial investments. I’d use someone like Chis Hogan if I had the chance.
6. Handle Your Business– Know what is happening with your money. Don’t trust some family member selling insurance for advice, nor trust your brother in law to handle your assets.
Have a monthly profit and loss statement that is reviewed by yourself, along with your tax professional and other trusted financial advisors.
7. Run Away From Schemers and Fast Money– You are now on the hit list for scammers, financial quacks, and people with ideas on how to make fast money.
Chances are if someone approaches you with an investment idea–they are scam artists or mislead at best. Seek out your own financial advisors and shut those out who seek you first.
8. Avoid Debt- This is true for all of us, but you now have the ability to qualify for Jumbo Home Loans which could lead to serious problems if your career ends. Flee from debt and investments that enslave you to debt.
Final Thoughts to the NFL Class of 2013
I hope at least 1 of the 255 draftees find this, or maybe one of their relatives. These pearls of wisdom will help ensure that your years of hard work won’t end up in bankruptcy and heartache.
If you’re not one of the 255 ESPN NFL Draft picks, what advice do you have for future NFL players?